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John L. Patti, chauffeured transportation pioneer

Dec. 7, 1936 - Aug. 9, 2014

John Patti, a pioneer in local chauffeured transportation, died Saturday under hospice care in his Tonawanda home following a long battle with cancer. He was 77.

A graduate of Grover Cleveland High School, he attended Simmons School of Embalming and Mortuary Science in Syracuse in 1957 and soon thereafter founded the Patti family’s funeral business‚ Buffalo Mortuary Service, catering to several funeral homes in the Buffalo and Niagara Falls area. His funeral business provided car service, hearses, removal of bodies and embalming. A New York State-licensed funeral director, Mr. Patti also served in the Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office from 1968 to 1974.

In the early 1960s, Buffalo Limousine was launched.

Regarded as the dean of limousine service, Mr. Patti’s innovations allowed the company to provide services to retail and corporate customers. He discontinued the funeral service part of his business in 1970 and focused on marketing the high-end limousine and sedan service.

He received several awards for excellence in the livery industry and served as a board member of various national organizations representing limousine operators. In the 1980s, he founded and served as president for the Niagara Frontier Limousine Association, the first local limousine association in the area.

During his career, Mr. Patti transported numerous politicians, including former presidents, business leaders and celebrities. He provided service for performers including Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, the Rolling Stones, Cher, Celine Dion and Bruce Springsteen.

Mr. Patti donated services to several local charities over the years, including Women & Children’s Hospital, the Variety Club and the Arthritis Foundation.

Working in the business for more than 40 years‚ Mr. Patti sold the limousine business to his daughter Carla Boccio and her husband, Frank, in 2000. He remained involved and active in the family business.

He is survived by his wife of 55 years, the former Camille Cicatello; a son, John S.; two daughters, Carla Boccio and Julie Kremer; a brother, Lawrence; a sister, Johann Carlo; and 10 grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:15 a.m. Thursday in St. Leo the Great Catholic Church, 885 Sweet Home Road, Amherst.

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